One Sunday my friend asked me if I’d like to go with her to a pop-up restaurant in the city where they sell sandwiches and milkshakes with vegan options including a vegan ube milkshake. Vegan ube milkshakes? I don’t recall having had one before. I was as intrigued as she was so I went with her and another friend to check it out. The pop-up restaurant, Island Girls, is a cute little stall inside a laundromat. One of the owners is Filipino hence the Filipino options like ube (I heard they even served vegan Sisig once using my recipe!) .
The owners were really nice and the food was delicious. My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed our vegan ube milkshakes. I finished mine in a flash. I thought, how come I never had a vegan ube milkshake before? The concept of veganizing an ube milkshake seems like a novelty. I did some research and recipe testing and as it turns out veganizing ube milkshake is not rocket science. In fact, the recipe has only three ingredients. I wonder why no one I know has done it before!
Ube or Filipino purple yam is a sweet root vegetable that grows abundantly in the Philippines. It’s widely used in Filipino sweets and desserts. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, fresh Filipino purple yam is hard to find even at Asian grocery stores (maybe that’s why it’s such a novelty?). The purple yams at the store are the Japanese kind which are oblong unlike the round, Filipino kind. Japanese purple yams are also less sweet than Filipino purple yams. Luckily, I’m not out of options. My neighborhood Asian grocery stores carry dried ube powder and frozen grated ube. Both seem to work well with the vegan ube milkshake recipe.
So why the sudden craving for ube? When the temperature rises, I crave for something cold and refreshing. Usually, my first thought would be ice cream. Other times I crave for fruit smoothies, boba pearl drinks, and milkshakes. They’re like the summer version of comfort food. Cooling and satisfying at the same time. After a while though, the same-old same-old flavors get boring. To change it up, my new go-to “beat-the-heat” treat is vegan ube milkshake. You might think I’ll get tired of it quick, but I could do so many things with it – top it with soy whipped cream, cocoa syrup, caramel syrup, rice crisps, nuts; or mix it with boba pearls, banana slices, chia seeds, goji berries -and those are just the top of my head!
Vegan ube milkshakes are also great to serve to kids. I have two nephews and two nieces and I’m sure they would love a glass or two. I love introducing them to vegan food and drinks. Sometimes they hesitate especially when the dish has the usual suspects like leafy greens, carrots, and peas. I think the key is to make the food not only delicious but also fun to eat. Vegan ube milkshakes seem fun enough to pass their test.
Perhaps the best incentive to make this recipe is that you could have vegan ube milkshake any time you want. You don’t have to wait for a restaurant to offer it, or if they’re open for business, or if they’re nearby. You could have vegan ube milkshake at the comfort of your own home, during off-hours, whether it’s summer or winter, and most likely, at a fraction of the cost of ordering one.
- In a blender, combine purple yam, milk, and ice cream. Blend for 15-20 seconds or until well-combined.
- Transfer to a serving glass.
- Add toppings (optional)
To prepare fresh purple yam:
- Peel purple yam and steam in hot water over medium heat until it's soft enough to mash. Turn off heat and drain. Alternatively, you could steam with the skin on. After steaming, let it cool down and peel skin with your hands.
- Mash and proceed with the ube milkshake recipe.
To prepare frozen purple yam:
- Thaw and proceed with the ube milkshake recipe. Make sure the kind you're buying at the store is cooked and mashed. It's usually available at the frozen section of Asian grocery stores.
To prepare purple yam powder:
- Heat ½ cup non-dairy milk in a small pot over low heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons purple yam powder.
- Stir with a ladle or spatula until consistency has turned thick and creamy, similar to the texture of a mashed potato.
- Turn off heat and proceed with the ube milkshake recipe.
For those who rather watch how it’s done, I’ve created a video recipe for you:
Many thanks to the people at Island Girls restaurant for inspiring me to create this recipe. After trying their yummy vegan ube milkshake, I knew I had to recreate it at home. Not only I’ve found a way to recreate it, I learned it was simple to make too.
Vegan ube milkshake is great for beating the heat and for trying something different from the usual cold treats. It could be mixed with all kinds of fun fixings like soy whipped cream, cocoa syrup, and vegan caramel sauce. Kids will surely love it, which is a great way to introduce them to vegan food and drinks. Best of all, vegan ube milkshakes are great to make because you could conveniently whip one at the comfort of your home any time you crave for something cool, refreshing, and satisfying.
Kain na, let’s eat!
To shop the recipe:
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